New Zealand have included two spinners in a 13-man squad for the first two matches of the five-match limited-overs series against Pakistan starting Saturday. Opener Martin Guptill has also been picked in the squad after missing New Zealand's three-match ODI series against West Indies with a hamstring injury. The five-match rubber between New Zealand and Pakistan is scheduled to begin on January 6 at the Basin Reserve.
The hosts have also included the spin duo of Mitchell Santner and Todd Astle in the squad announced on Monday by national selector Gavin Larsen.
Larsen said that they are thrilled to have `world-class` opener, Martin Guptill, back in the squad. He said: "It's tough on George missing out, but he'll continue to push for selection and will get further opportunities down the road. Martin is a proven world-class player, so we're naturally thrilled to have him back in the mix."
Larsen said Astle "made the most of his opportunity against the West Indies Indies. Mitchell has been one of our most consistent white ball bowlers for a long time now as can be seen by him being ranked in the Top 10 ODI bowlers in the world."
All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme, who missed the series against West Indies and returned to Harare after his father's death, will continue to remain sidelined.
Grandhomme, who has returned to New Zealand since then, would now play for Auckland and is most likely to make a return for the national side for the last three ODIs against Pakistan.
The five-match ODI series will be followed by three T20Is, which begins on January 22 at the Westpac Stadium.
New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (Captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.
(With Agency Inputs)